UK based Electronic producer Laxcity (Josh Mbewe) has this introverted and somewhat reserved nature to him that tends to arise even during interviews. On the latest episode of the Fox Tales Podcast, however, we experience something different from the producer. I’ll dive more into that soon… But if you’re unfamiliar with who he is and the work that he’s put out then it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the world of emotionally rich Electronic music that’s created by this artist.
The amalgamation of Future Bass, Vapor Twitch, and Future Beats that are found throughout his discography has not only led to him brushing shoulders with his idols and playing intercontinental shows but also a deal with ALT Vision – undeniably one of the hottest labels around for Electronic music. How did he get to this point? Well, Laxcity tells us all about it in this episode. From his humble beginnings in Zambia to his tough transition into the UK where he started making music. Throughout the conversation, we get to hear a Laxcity that seems like he has loosed the shackles of anxiety that he’s struggled with and his story as Josh rises to the conversation in a manner that’s deep, and at times fun and lighthearted. In short, this is probably the most personal Laxcity interview you’ll hear so far as we also discuss race, relationships, anxiety, and more. I truly hope you enjoy and walk away with a thing or two you can use in your life. Below the podcast, I've included some of the moments I thought were memorable in the interview.
Growing up black, particularly in the 2000s there was a stigma that we’re “supposed” to like Hip Hop, R&B and other ‘Urban’ genres. In your case, you mainly gravitated towards Rock, Dubstep and other forms of Electronica when you were younger. Did you have any experiences where you were picked on by virtue of the “mismatch” between the color of your skin and your taste in music?
Yeah! I was a big social outcast at school. It kinda got to me a bit but eventually, I stopped caring. There was definitely a lot of that feeling of being boxed in by imposed stereotypes, even from my black friends who would say stuff like “you’re Black, you’re supposed to like Rap”. In my case, there was a lot of pressure to listen to Grime. I’m actually still not into Grime and Drill. I sometimes wonder if my disconnect with Grime has something to do with my rough and uneasy initial experience of the UK. It felt like a “requirement” when I was growing to be into those kinds of genres. It’s honestly felt so refreshing to be in conversations and someone would ask me “do you know Medasin, Joji" or any other acts that are more left field.
What helped you grow and blossom from your experiences with anxiety?
It’s mainly been my friends. I’ve had a lot of help from them. My friends in the industry too have been vital. Hanz and I talk all the time and we’re pretty much the same person. We try to support each other on a range of different things. Having someone who is very relatable and knows what you're going through has not only been helpful in my self-improvement journey but it also provides a sense of comfort. I start to believe the world isn’t as bad as I believe it to be and that I can navigate through it if I try. But yeah, overall the biggest help has been friends. Moving out of my parent's place and gaining independence helped too especially discovering things on my own and doing things at my own pace.
Laxcity’s monologue on communication:
You know when people put filler words in their sentences? I think that’s a very acceptable way of communication. My dad was very determined to rid me of words such as “like”. “uhmmm”, especially since I used those as filler words often so I can see why he tried to get me to stop saying them. But I think if anyone wants to communicate in that way, they should. I know presentation and tone are very important when you speak. They say you have to be well-spoken to be respected. But for those where respect doesn’t come easy, we should definitely hear them out. You might miss a lot of things by not doing so.
That’s also another reason I make music in the first place. I really intended my music to be for those who are underrated in school or something and need a sense of hope, telling them they’re not alone and having the music help them through a hard time is what I want to do with my music. It’s that, and also the progression of my production as well. Getting better at my craft fills me up, especially since I feel like I’m growing exponentially.
What was going on in your life during the creation of Catharsis? It sounds emotionally rich and this is heightened by the orchestral arrangements?
In one word - relationships. Just trying failing, trying, and failing… Going through the motions of dating as well. The story is about a boy and girl that meet, the man invests all of himself into the relationship. Basically, the man simps, the girl doesn’t like it and leaves, and he ends up getting hurt. However, he ends up meeting someone else at the end. That is very reflective of what happened to me. But right now I’ve been single for about two years and I’m happy where I am and don’t quite feel like trying anymore lol. At the time emotions were flying high and I wanted to write about how I was feeling.